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Training Academy hosts Ministerial visit

Posted on: 12/10/2017

Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science, has taken a closer look at how training plays a fundamental role in the careers of gas engineers after a visit to Wales & West Utilities flagship training academy in Treforest.

The visit allowed the Minister to see how the business is using the Academy to train its colleagues so they can continue to deliver outstanding customer service to the 7.5m people it serves. She also met with some of the company’s apprentices and those responsible for delivering the training.

Sarah Hopkins, People & Engagement Director at Wales & West Utilities, Julie James, AM and Minister for Skills and Science
and Andrew Gwilym, Wales & West Utilities Area Engineering Manager for Wales with current apprentices

The Training Academy, opened after an investment of £3 million by gas emergency and pipeline service Wales & West Utilities in 2011, has seen considerable growth whilst the company’s next generation of gas engineers develop their skills and experience at the state of the art facility. Its set up allows them to build on classroom training with realistic hands on experience to make sure they are prepared to keep the gas flowing to heat homes and power businesses long into the future.

Sarah Hopkins, People & Engagement Director at Wales & West Utilities said:

“We were delighted to welcome the Minister to the Academy and share our apprenticeship experience. Our Training Academy plays a key role in the work we’re doing to develop the next generation of gas engineers. It also supports the training of other utilities and emergency services with its realistic street environment. 

“Apprenticeships are key in preparing our business to meet the challenges of the future, so we can deliver for our customers and keep the gas flowing to heat homes and power businesses for years to come. We’re looking forward to continuing to work alongside the Welsh Government to share apprenticeship experience and best practice.”

Sarah Hopkins, People & Engagement Director at Wales & West Utilities, Julie James, AM and Minister for Skills and Science
and Andrew Gwilym, Wales & West Utilities Area Engineering Manager for Wales with current apprentices

Julie James, AM and Minister for Skills and Science, said:

“It was a very great pleasure to visit Wales & West Utilities and see for myself the crucial role our Welsh Labour Government apprenticeships and skills training is playing in the success of their business. 

“Apprenticeships are an essential ingredient of economic success and a vital tool in building a stronger, fairer and more equal Wales.  That’s why our Welsh Labour Government has pledged to create a minimum of 100,000 all-age apprenticeships this Assembly term, and ensure that Wales has the skills base to compete globally and meet the challenges of the twenty first century.”

Wales & West Utilities Training Academy primarily specialises in the training of gas engineers and features a unique indoor 'street' with terraced houses, a detached property, 2-storey flats and a large training and assessment area all offering a 'hands on' and realistic training experience. CO poisoning detection training is also included as part of the training options - one of only two such training facilities in the UK.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service that serves Wales and the south west of England, puts customers at the heart of the business and is rated the top utility company in the UK for customer service. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night. 

The company also has a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe investment programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being replaced with new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.